MONTREAL — Buried treasures abound as Archeo Quebec presents the eighth edition of Archaeology Month.
In all, some 80 archaeologically themed activities are held at 50 sites throughout the province. On the agenda: family activities, big digs, museum visits, workshops and seminars. The events are held throughout the month of August.
Here’s how to channel the inner-archaeologist in you.
Located in the Verdun neighborhood of Montreal, Maison Nivard De Saint-Dizier, Museum and Archeological Site, which hugs the St. Lawrence River, is one of the oldest houses in the city, with its foundation dating to 1710.
In addition, archaeological finds discovered on-site stem from Amerindian settlements that date to more than 5,000 years old.
The museum space offers permanent and temporary exhibitions as well as special activities. A stone flaking and polishing workshop is held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today, and the “Fief of Verdun” is hosted at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Sundays, Aug. 11 and 18, at 7244 Lasalle Blvd. Call (514) 765-7150 or visit www.poledesrapides.com to learn more.
In nearby Lachine, the Lachine Canal National Historic Site of Canada and the Lachine Museum offer a unique archaeological tour best explored by water. Lachine Archeo-Trek is a three-hour bilingual expedition led by an archaeologist and historical guide aboard a rabaska canoe. The trek begins at the museum and continues to the Fur Trade at Lachine National Historic Site. It’s held from 9:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. on weekends throughout August. Admission costs $10. For departure-point information and reservations, call (514) 637-7433 or visit www.pc.gc.ca/fourrure.
In Old Montreal, Pointe-a-Calliere, the Montreal Museum of Archaeology and History, hosts a number of activities.
“City Under the City — On the Trail of Fort Ville-Marie” is a free tour of Montreal’s first “downtown” — actually the Old Port streets that border the museum. Stops explore an 18th century fortified town, a recreated New France marketplace, the local business district and governor’s residence.
Another activity is Budding Archaeologists, which offers a simulated dig for children led by an archaeologist.
Stick around for some New France-style shopping during the “18th Century Public Market,” which commemorates Montreal’s first public marketplace, circa 1750.
These free activities are held throughout the weekend of Aug. 25 and 26 at 350 place Royale in Old Montreal. For details, call (514) 872-9150 or visit www.pacmusee.qc.ca.
Then, it’s off to the mountain. Mount Royal Park hosts “Living in the Shadows of Mount Royal: An Archaeological Visit of the Mountain,” a free 90-minute guided tour that includes an archaeological visit to the Notre-Dame-des-Neiges cemetery. The tour is held in English at 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 25. Reservations are required. The tour departs at the Decelle entrance of Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery near Maison Simon Lacombe.
On the South Shore, a bit closer to the border, Fort Lennox National Historic Site of Canada also hosts a number of events.
Fort Lennox, which is run by Parks Canada, was originally a British fortification built on the Richelieu River in the mid-1700s. The strategically placed island fort — just 8 miles from the U.S./Canadian border — guarded British Revolutionary strongholds in Canada from American invasions. The Richelieu River links the St. Lawrence River to the north and Lake Champlain to the south.
The current buildings that remain on site at 1 61st Ave. in St. Paul de l’Ile aux Noix — officers’ quarters, soldiers’ barrack, guard house, prison and ammunition magazines — were built between 1819 and 1829.
Each visit also comes with a bonus in the form of a quick ferry ride (included in the admission price), as guests can only access Fort Lennox by boat.
Activities for Archaeology Month include “Heroes Wanted,” an activity that allows visitors to take part in defending Ile aux Noir, the fort’s island home. It’s held throughout the weekend of Aug. 18 and 19.
Next are two exhibition visits. “The Gentlemen Officer” is a peek at the actual officers’ quarters, which brim with authentic historical objects that tell the tale of a 19th century British officer’s life. “Fort Lennox, A Work by the Royal Engineers” is an exhibit that explores ingenious low-tech but quite creative military engineering of the time.
Admission costs $7.85 for adults and $3.90 for children 6 to 16. Call (450) 291-5700 or visit www.pc.gc.ca/fortlennox to learn more.
For complete listings throughout the province, visit www.archeoquebec.com.
Steven Howell is the author of Montreal Essential Guide, a Sutro Media iPhone travel app available at iTunes.com.